This Week in DC: Events 2.10.14

Our featured event for this week is Tuesday’s February Biodefense Policy Seminar, featuring former Deputy Executive Chairman of the UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) Charles Duelfer. Mr. Duelfer will discuss the politics of WMD destruction in Iraq and Syria. Dinner will be provided by Cafe Rio  – join us!

Monday, February 10, 2014 

The Muslim Brotherhood: Evolution of an Islamist Movement
Elliot School of International Affairs
12:00 PM

Carrie Rosefsky Wickham will discuss her recent release: The Muslim Brotherhood: Evolution of an Islamist Movement. Wickham’s current research focuses on the origins of political opposition in authoritarian settings, focusing on the rise of Islamic activism in Egypt and other Arab states. She is also the author of Mobilizing Islam: Religion, Activism, and Political Change in Egypt. Limited copies of the book will be available for students. A light lunch will be served with a book signing to follow.

Will a Counterterrorism Operation in Pakistan Succeed under Current Conditions?
Atlantic Council
1:00 PM

Pakistan’s new government has yet to announce its long-awaited new security strategy. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on January 28, announced the formation of a four-member committee to pursue dialogue with the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Many expected the government to abandon efforts to bring the TTP to the table after similar moves failed last year. The TTP, while expressing interest in dialogue, has continued violent attacks within Pakistan, leading Prime Minister Sharif to condition peace talks on a cessation of attacks. The prime minister continues to entertain a military option, stating, “We have to win this fight, whether by dialogue or by war.” What are the conditions under which the military of Pakistan can and will tackle the internal insurgency? Is the civilian component of the impending plan ready? Imtiaz Gul, an Islamabad-based expert will review Pakistan’s likely counterterrorism strategy and its potential for success.

International Uranium Film Festival
Heinrich Böll Foundation
Monday – Wednesday, starting at 4:00 PM

The Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Goethe-Institut are pleased to invite you to The International Uranium Film Festival in Washington DC. The International Uranium Film Festival is the first festival of its kind that addresses the problems and challenges related to nuclear and radioactive issues. After premiering in Rio de Janeiro in 2011, the festival has traveled to major cities around the world, including São Paulo, Recife, Salvador & Fortaleza in Brazil; Lisbon and Porto in Portugal; Berlin and Munich in Germany; and ten major cities in India including New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. The festival is now – for the first time – coming to Washington DC. Screenings will take place on three consecutive nights, followed by a panel discussion featuring some of the film directors and policy experts.

 Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Process and Politics of WMD Destruction: Iraq and Syria
GMU Biodefense Policy Seminar
Research Hall, Room 163, GMU Fairfax Campus
7:20 PM

The February Biodefense Policy Seminar speaker is former Deputy Executive Chairman of the UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) Mr. Charles Duelfer. Charles Duelfer was the Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence for Iraq WMD. He led the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) investigation in Iraq, which conducted the investigation of Iraq’s WMD programs. The ISG was a unique intelligence organization of over 1600 military and civilian staff that investigated Iraq WMD programs. It used all possible collection and analytic capabilities in a hostile environment. The Duelfer Report (2004) is the definitive work on the relationship of the Saddam Regime to WMD. Previously, Mr. Duelfer was the Deputy Executive Chairman of the UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) from 1993 until its termination in 2000. For the last several months of its existence he was the acting chairman. Duelfer also served in the Political-Military Bureau of the State Department for several years in a variety of capacities including directing regional security programs in Africa (including Somalia, Sudan and Chad), Latin America, and the Middle East. He also participated in the policy development for nuclear weapons and arms control subjects. From 2006-2008, Duelfer was chairman and CEO of Transformational Space Corporation, a small entrepreneurial company developing a launch system for transportation to low earth orbit. Presently he is Chairman of Omnis, Inc, a consulting firm in McLean, Virginia. He is the author numerous articles on security and intelligence and the book, Hide and Seek: The Search for Truth in Iraq (Public Affairs Books 2009).

Cryptocurrencies: The New Coin of the Realm?
New America Foundation
12:15 PM

In 2009, the mysterious and pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto launched Bitcoin, the world’s first online cryptocurrency. Backed by no government or hard assets, the currency’s value has skyrocketed and plunged repeatedly. And yet, a diverse group of entrepreneurs, businesses and would-be money launders has followed Bitcoin’s trajectory avidly. The receptivity indicates a real demand for an Internet-centric medium of exchange, without banks and without fees. Yet the rise of “criminal eBays” like the Silk Road, which allow for the anonymous purchase of illegal items with the cryptocurrency, have also brought the digital cash to the attention of government authorities. Beyond monitoring illicit activity, should regulators have a role in this new financial system? Could Bitcoin-or another cryptocurrency-become a universal alternative currency? Will we ever be able to use a cryptocurrency at our local bodega?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rethinking State-Building in Muslim-Majority States: Grounded View From Somalia
12:30 PM

William Reno, professor of political science and program director for the Department of African Studies at Northwestern University, will discuss this topic.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Inside Aleppo: New Tools for Understanding the Syrian Conflict
American Security Project
8:30 AM

The American Security Project will host Dr. David Kilcullen and Mr. Nate Rosenblatt of Caerus Associates who will provide a briefing on findings from what may be the most detailed, publicly available assessment of the ongoing conflict in Syria to date. Findings will be based on four months of in-depth, time-series research from within Aleppo, Syria’s largest, most diverse, and most economically relevant city. Today, Aleppo is one of the most divided cities in the country. Tomorrow, its future may resemble that of other, large, non-capital cities in post-conflict Middle Eastern states such as Libya’s Benghazi or Iraq’s Mosul.

Will China Democratize?
National Endowment for Democracy
4:00 PM

A year ago the International Forum for Democratic Studies convened a panel entitled “China at the Tipping Point?” based on the series of articles that appeared under that title in the January 2013 Journal of Democracy. It is also approximately a year since the turnover of power within the Chinese Communist Party that brought President Xi Jinping to the country’s top leadership position. Many observers expected that Xi would prove to be a reformer, but so far there is little evidence that this has been the case, at least with respect to political reform. This panel will evaluate developments over the past year and examine in what ways China may be moving closer to or farther from a “tipping point.” The panelists are contributors to Will China Democratize?, a Journal of Democracy book edited by Andrew J. Nathan, Larry Diamond, and Marc F. Plattner that was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in the fall of 2013.

(Image: Dell/Flickr)

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